Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,726 / Nestor

Posted by RatkojaRiku on July 21st, 2011


A double first for me today: this was the first time that it has fallen to me to solve and blog a Nestor puzzle AND I think that it is the first time ever that I have solved a puzzle in which not one entry was made up of a single word, since all the entries here are two-word phrases, many of which are hyphenated. I spotted this on my initial browse of the puzzle, without solving a clue, and concluded that Nestor must have set himself a personal challenge to fill the grid in this way, since a solver need not have noticed it to complete the puzzle.

Overall, I found that I had to whittle away at this one, finishing the SE and SW corners first, but then really slowing down in the NE and especially NW quadrants. Not recognising the group at 3 didn’t help, and I ought to have spotted 7 at least more quickly than I did.

My clue of the day has to be the & lit. at 8 for its smooth surface, closely followed by 4 for its smuttiness. There were a number of very well hidden definitions today, I thought, at 11, 18 and 26, and I appreciated the wordplay in 21, where Privy Council needed to be broken down.

*(…) indicates an anagram


7 PEN NAMES Hidden and reversed (“excerpt from … recalled”) in “wiSE MAN(?) NEPhews”; George Orwell and George Eliot were the pen names of Eric Arthur Blair and Mary Anne Evans respectively.
9 TOO-TOO TOOT (=Charlie, i.e. quantity of cocaine) + O O (=rings)
10 AT WILL A + TWILL (=cloth with diagonal ridges)
11 AFTER-TAX AFT (=behind boat) + *(EXTRA); “meshing” is anagram indicator; the cleverly hidden definition is simply “net”, used adjectivally.
12 SIDE EFFECT [SI + DEEF (FEED = fuel, as a verb + IS; “withdrawing” indicates reversal)] + F<ertil>E C<rescen>T (“shells” means first and last letters only)
14 LA-LA <m>A<l>L<e>A<b>L<e>; “oddly overlooked” means the odd letters are dropped; “backing” indicates reversal.
15 SELF-CONFESSED *(OFFENCE LESS) in SD (DS = Detective Sergeant; “retired” indicates reversal)
18 G-MAN GM (=Frankenfood-like, i.e. genetically-modified, named after the monster Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel) + AN (=article); the cleverly hidden definition is “fed”, as a noun, i.e. federal agent.
20 STAND-ALONE T<ransistors> (“primarily” means first letter only) in [SANDAL (=flip-flop) + ONE (=unit)]
22 JOB-SHARE [B (=British) in JOSH (=ridicule)] + ARE (=happen)
24 AT ODDS TODD (=Sweeney possibly, i.e. the Demon Barber) in AS (=when)
25 TO DATE TOD (DOT=Dorothy; “turnaround” indicates reversal”) + ATE (=worried)
26 SWEET BAY S (=second) + WEE (=minute, i.e. tiny) + TBA (=to be arranged) + <Hard>Y (“at last” means last letter only); the deceptive definition is “laurel”, i.e. the tree.
1 FELT TIPS F (=following) + ELTTIPS (SPITTLE=saliva; “rise of” indicates vertical reversal)
2 ON-SITE SIT (=to remain inactive) in ONE (=a person)
3 SMALL FACES Cryptic definition: Small Faces (“weren’t big-headed”) is an English rock and roll band formed in 1965 that had a hit in 1968 with the single Lazy Sunday.
4 AT IT TITA<n> (=colossus; “almost” means last letter is dropped); “overthrown” indicates reversal; the definition is “in congress”, i.e. having sex!
5 NO FRILLS N + (unspecified number) + OF + RILLS (=channels, i.e. furrows)
6 YOU-ALL *(<f>OUL <p>LAY); “excusing leaders” means initial letters are dropped; “cursed” is anagram indicator; the definition is “Dixie address”, i.e. a pronoun used in the Southern US when addressing two or more people.
8 SPACE INVADERS [I (=one) in *(ADVANCE)] in *(PRESS); “frantically” and “alien” are anagram indicators; & lit.
13 TREAD WATER [READ (=study) + W (=wicket, i.e. in cricket)] in TATER (=murphy, i.e. potato)
16 LONG-STAY *(TAG’S ONLY); “working” is anagram indicator.
17 DONE DEAL [EDEN (=paradise) + O (=old)] in LAD (=youth); “going north” indicates vertical reversal
19 MOO-COW [O’ (=over, as in O/C, O/D) + C/O (=care of)] in MOW (=cut grass)
21 LOOK TO KT (=knight, i.e. Knight Templar) in [LOO (=privy, i.e. toilet) + <c>O<uncil> (“Council’s second” means second letter only)]; the definition is “rely on”, as in We are looking to you/relying on you to sort out this problem.
23 A FEW A<stronomer> (“Astronomer’s first” means first letter only) + FEW (wef=with effect from; “reflected” indicates reversal); the definition is “(a) scattering”, cf (a) sprinkling.


11 Responses to “Independent 7,726 / Nestor”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the comprehensive blog.

    As for Nestor, in my household TDF usually stands for Tour de France, but now I must add Tour de Force!

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Nestor.

    I liked this, as solving went at a steady rate, and there were a lot of nice surface readings. Favourites were 11A AFTER-TAX, 21A LOOK TO, compact but effective, and 20A STAND-ALONE. And 4D AT IT, could have been another risque one if the word break was somewhere else.

  3. flashling says:

    All the 2 word answers seemed a little off utting but got there in the end, tricky but all perfectly fair – no complaints here.

    8d is a masterful clue, not too sure how our Irish friends will take 13d though.

    Thanks for the blog RatkojaRiku and Nestor for a fine way to occupy myself whilst commuting.

  4. anax says:

    As semi-&lits go 8d is probably the best I’ve seen, truly brilliant construction, and just one of many excellent clues in a marvellous Nestor outing.
    The grid fill was very cleverly done. Phrases of 4 letters aren’t in particularly generous supply but Nestor wisely gave them closed-off corners to reduce the pressure – I’d guess these went in before the 6- and 8-letter fills.
    TDF indeed – it gets my vote.

  5. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog, and Nestor for a very enjoyable puzzle.

    I hadn’t heard of TOOT as a quantity of cocaine (sheltered upbringing), but the answer went in anyway. Too-too many really good clues to have a particular favourite, although I can understand the plaudits for 8d.
    20ac has an interesting aspect; as well as a flip-flop being a type of sandal, a flip-flop unit is a type of electronic circuit which involves transistors. Probably easier to solve if you didn’t know that……

  6. Lenny says:

    I noticed from my records (yes I am that boring) that I have only successfully solved two of my previous seven attempts at Nestor puzzles. I was quite pleased to finish this quite quickly, apart from the 10 minutes it took me at the end to get A Few. I originally had On-line for 2 but fortunately I revisited it. I did not understand the wordplay for Too-too on account of my sheltered upbringing. Lots of fun, thanks Nestor and RR.

  7. caretman says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog. I found this a fairly easy puzzle, with A FEW holding me up the longest and SMALL FACES going in solely from the punny definitions and crossing letters so thanks for explaining that. I particular liked ‘shells in Fertile Crescent’ for F(ertil)E C(rescen)T and I agree on the COD for SPACE INVADERS. Thanks, Nestor!

  8. Richard says:

    An excellent, and very cleverly-constructed puzzle.

  9. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog and for pointing out the double word aspect which I did not notice at all! Excellent inventive clues, quite tough but fair in all respects. Took me a while to finish but I did. My favourite was SPACE INVADERS too and I also found A FEW the trickiest and admired the subtly concealed definitions throughout. Re flashling at #3, there’s no problem IMHO with 13 down – this is common informal usage if perhaps a little dated now, not signalled as offensive in dicts. Thanks Nestor for the puzzle.

  10. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Nestor for an excellent puzzle and RatkojaRiku for the blog.

    All clues very well constructed. So often one sees two word answers clued by an overall definition coupled with definitions of each word separately. This mundane device has been completely avoided.

  11. RatkojaRiku says:

    @Cumbrian – I hadn’t heard of a flip-flop unit, actually; as you say, not knowing it makes the clue easier to “see through”, although the other meaning is crucial to the smoothness of the surface reading.

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